Who Hijacked Our Country

Wednesday, February 01, 2012


The Stop Trading On Congressional Knowledge (STOCK) Act is getting closer to reality.  The original purpose of the bill was to stop insider trading among members of Congress.  But more restrictions keep getting proposed.

Rand Paul has proposed an amendment that would prevent lawmakers from becoming lobbyists after they retire or get voted out.  A former senator or congressman will be able to either become a lobbyist OR keep his retirement benefits.

Susan Collins, alarmed at this “harsh” amendment, said:

“As I read the language, the former member of Congress who writes a book would be in danger of forfeiting his or her pension.”


Senators Michael Bennet and Jon Tester — both junior senators — have added a lifetime ban on members of Congress becoming lobbyists.  And staff members would be prohibited from lobbying their former bosses for six years.

Two other senators, Sherrod Brown and Jeff Merkley, have proposed an amendment that would require lawmakers and their senior staff members to either divest of all stocks, or transfer all of their stock holdings into a blind trust.

Senators Claire McCaskill and Pat Toomey have proposed a Senate ban on earmarks.  And Jim DeMint is pushing for an amendment requiring term limits for Congress.

No matter how restrictive this law becomes, it won’t be easy to vote No on it.  Congress has a 9% public approval rating, and this is an election year.

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Blogger Jerry Critter said...

It sounds like to me that Democrats are trying to make it stronger and republicans are trying to add "poison pills".

What a surprise!

February 1, 2012 at 9:03 PM  
Blogger Randal Graves said...

I miss Admiral Stockdale.

February 2, 2012 at 6:36 AM  
Blogger J. Marquis said...

This is all good news. At least there a few people in DC who really care about curbing the corruption.

February 2, 2012 at 9:19 AM  
Blogger Demeur said...

How about a law that says congress must be covered by and obey the laws they pass?

February 2, 2012 at 9:19 AM  
Blogger Mr. Charleston said...

I'll be happy with term limits and no earmarks. If the insider trading thing gets passed that's icing on the cake. No lobbying would be a dream but is probably unconstitutional anyway. I don't see how we can legally keep a retired congressperson from pursuing another career. Term limits would make them more responsive to their constituency and, at the very least, would guarantee a fresh face every four years.

February 2, 2012 at 9:44 AM  
Anonymous Jess said...

This will be another one of those Kabuki deals that will drag out and drag on, till the repugs can sweep it under the rug thinking people will just forget about it. Cynical... ME, no why do you ask that :)

February 2, 2012 at 12:04 PM  
Anonymous Jolly Roger said...

I expect that the final measure will have the teeth of a 20 year old dog.

February 2, 2012 at 1:03 PM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

Jerry: It's hard to tell. As much as I dislike Rand Paul, I like the amendment he added.

Randal: You mean the guy who asked who he was and why he was there.

J: I hope they actually are and aren't just making the right noises.

Demeur: Excellent idea but don't hold your breath.

Mr. C: The "no lobbying" part might be unconstitutional if it's a blatant prohibition. But if it's a choice -- keep your pension OR become a lobbyist -- that should pass constitutional muster. But I don't claim any sort of legal expertise.

Jess: What would Washington DC be without its ongoing Kabuki Theater?

JR: LOL. You're probably right.

February 2, 2012 at 1:21 PM  
Blogger Jerry Critter said...

I like Paul's amendment also, but republicans will never vote for it, hence - poison pill.

February 2, 2012 at 4:29 PM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

Jerry: Good point. I think Paul is genuinely in favor of that amendment, but it may have the effect of being a poison pill.

February 2, 2012 at 7:15 PM  

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